As I have noted earlier, our recruitment numbers for Tiger Cubs are down for Washington and Pike Townships.
Thinking about ways to increase our free-marketing opportunities, I realized how few times in the modern era that scouts are seen in uniform outside of scout meetings.
In my review of the history of scouting in Central Indiana to track the history of my home troop (which was founded in 1915), I learned a lot about scouting practices in the early 20th century.
What caught my attention is how often the scouts were out at public events in uniform. Some at neighborhood events. Some at scouting events open to the public. Some of these are antiquated ideas, but I find old things a great means of sparking the imagination and brain storming.
In the pre-WWI era, a common neighborhood practice was the “Yard Party.” A family or group would hold a party in the yard of a member’s home or the local church. They would publish an announcement in the local paper and invite the neighborhood. It seems the only idea was to entertain and socialize. No fundraising. No other complications.
For scout troops, this was a way to be seen as actively participating in the local neighborhood. Houses were in walking distance of each other in the city, and neighbors would see the neighborhood boys working together for the good of the community.
Now we look at the activities we do. How many times are your scouts in public without their “Class A uniforms” on? Would non-scouts know that you are doing scouting from a distance? How many times do you do activities away from your usual secret-hideaway meeting location?
These are all opportunities lost to market ourselves at no cost.
We need to be finding ways to put on our uniforms and be seen near our neighborhoods – near our meeting locations. That will start conversations and introduce us again to our neighbors.